Three Types of Empathy

funny motivational speakerIn his motivational TedTalk, Daniel Goleman suggests there are three types of Empathy:

Cognitive. This kind of empathy means you understand how and why a person thinks about certain things. To have cognitive empathy, you would have to step into a person's thoughts and value systems to figure out what makes them tick.

Cognitive empathy helps you communicate well with someone at a cognitive level, but it doesn't make you more compassionate towards them. Superb negotiators have learned to dip into someone's world to manipulate their message to win a person over. It doesn't mean they agree with or relate to the person. For instance, a ruthless salesperson could cognitively empathise with someone just to get the sale.

Emotional. This type of empathy helps you feel what the other person feels. If they feel sad, you feel sad. If they feel embarrassed, you temporarily feel the same. Digging into a person's emotional state helps you meet them at their level. Many caring professionals have learned this emotional support can be exhausting because the emotions are often challenging. You cannot stay low with someone too long, or you can both burn out. 

Empathic concern. This empathy translates to; I understand how you feel and I'm predisposed to support you if I can. According to Goleman, this caring system of the brain is at the core of real empathy.  This compassion puts aside self-interest and does the right thing without the need for recognition. 

Thus, to  tap into everyday empathy, we have to slow down and understand another person's world. To really relate to someone means to understand what they think, how they feel and then be willing to support them when they need it.

Motivational Speaker Daniel Goleman


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